Wednesday 24 April 2015
Hansard of the Legislative Council


Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, legislating to have parliamentary remuneration decided by the Industrial Commission is just a no brainer.  It is obvious that members of parliament in Tasmania cannot set their own remuneration in the present economic climate or at any other time.  For a start, Tasmanians on the average wage or without a wage at all would likely take to the streets.  Unlike most employees, we cannot negotiate with the boss because we do not have one.  We are employed by the people of Tasmania and wage negotiations with them are out, so arbitration is the only sensible option that we have.  We do not want the burden of trying to decide our own salaries, superannuation and allowances.  That needs to be done well away from Parliament and politics.

Generally speaking, we should have annual pay increases in line with inflation with a bonus for any productivity gains, and that is fair for all state employees.  It should be no different for us.  There are numerous factors that must be considered in deciding on pay increases for parliamentarians.

Parliament itself does not have the expertise and I would argue that the government doesn't have it either, and nor does it have impartiality.  The Industrial Commission can look at numerous factors - salaries federally and in other states, Tasmania's economy, our workloads, our productivity - as they did before when they brought down their decision which I thought was fair, proper and appropriate and should have been taken up.

When the Industrial Commission makes its decision, Parliament should accept it and not attempt to overrule the umpire.  I stress again, politicians should keep their hands off the levers of remuneration, and that includes any overruling of the umpire's decision.  What is the use of the umpire if the umpire is going to be ignored if the decision is not seen as favourable?  That is ridiculous, and that is why the proposed amendments by the member for Rumney are logical.  I will be interested when we get into the Committee stage, where I am sure we will go, to hear this being prosecuted by him.  At this time, I am in support of the amendments because they are logical.

Our role as members of parliament is not much understood by ordinary Tasmanians.  They usually do not realise the amount of parliamentary work or committee work that we undertake.  The fact that we are on call 24 hours a day and seven days a week, the amount of work in analysing, scrutinising and often amending bills as well as our electorate and our community work are not at the forefront of people's minds. 

On this bill, I am happy for the Industrial Commission to make their assessment of what we do and as far as I am concerned, the decision of the Industrial Commission should be final.